Louisiana residents braced for another possible battering, as forecast models predict the now-Tropical Storm Ida will track northwest and bring the risk of surge, wind and heavy rainfall from the Florida Panhandle to Texas.

After an Air Force reconnaissance Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the tropical depression to tropical storm status at 5:20 p.m., moving northwest at 14 mph with sustained winds of 40 mph. U.S. and European models anticipated Ida strengthening to a category 2 or 3 hurricane and make landfall on the Louisiana coast late Sunday or early Monday.

Just hours before the hurricane center’s upgrade, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards toured Lake Charles, La., still recovering from Hurricane Laura in 2020.

“Everybody along the Louisiana coast needs to prepare for a hurricane that may come as early as Sunday, possibly Monday, and it could be a major hurricane,” Bel Edwards said at a press conference.

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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